In this 23rd episode of CultivatED Marketer, hosts Brent Bowen and Matt Tidwell, PhD, chat with Katie Macaulay, Managing Director at AB, about her book and podcast about internal communications, the shifting demands of internal communications due to the pandemic and great resignation, and advice for young marketers.

CultivatED Marketer Ep. 23 — Shifting Demands of Internal Communications with Katie Macaulay

Shifting Demands of Internal Communications

Brent talks about how internal comms has rapidly shifted and evolved, and asks what are some of the challenges in this new era?

  • Katie discusses about how internal comms challenges need to be the same as the larger organization’s challenges, and explains what that looks like.
  • She details some of the challenges that internal comms are facing today, and what some of those items are around the world.
  • Katie then references her book, why she wrote it, and who her book is meant to help.

Brent, after referencing some topics Katie just talked about such as remote work, asks about what kinds of studies have been done around internal communications.

  • Katie says that before companies embark on any type of communications plan, an internal study needs to be done.
  • In those internal studies, she says it is to understand the difference between “need to know” and “nice to know,” the importance of each, how each should be communicated, how many touches need to be done, etc.

Tips for Young Marketing Professionals

Matt brings the focus to younger communications professionals, and how many of them think internal comms is boring, and asks Katie how to respond to the individuals thinking that way.

  • Katie says that was fairly common, until the pandemic when smart leaders have recognized that great companies are built from the inside out.
  • She says recruiters have said people are now actively choosing internal communications over other communications areas.
  • She also notes how communication from one’s employer is the most trusted news source today, and the power that has in today’s society.
  • Matt relays a personal story of a time when an executive made internal comms a priority in one of his prior roles.
  • Brent then also recalls one of his personal experiences with internal communications.

Brent asks what skills are good foundational skills for people looking to go into internal communications.

  • Katie says that general business acumen is very important, as well as specifics about your organization and the regulations, competitive environment, how it measures success, etc.
  • She says that for her, one’s ability to gather insight and conduct research is vitally important, and explains why and how it is so important.
  • She finishes by explaining why curiosity as a habit, not just a trait, is also one of the best things a younger professional can have.
  • Katie says she sends out Friday updates with a few notes on new things she has seen or learned in the world of comms during that week.
  • Matt relates a story to paraphrase why having data is so important to being able to effectively drive your communication and get funding for it.


To hear the rest of the conversation, listen to part 2 here.

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